New College Course: ‘Beyoncé Feminism, Rihanna Womanism’

Take a second to reflect back on when you were in college. What courses did you take? Econ 101? Organic Chemistry?

By Brenda SalinasJanuary 9, 2015 11:48 am

This semester, students at the University of Texas at Austin will have the opportunity to take a different course.

Dr. Omise’eke Tinsley is an associate professor of African and African diaspora studies at The University of Texas at Austin. She will be teaching a new course called Beyoncé Feminism, Rihanna Womanism”, which will analyze how these women reflect aspects of black feminism.

Here’s what Dr. Tinsley had to say:

On Beyoncé Feminism, Rihanna Womanism”

“The wonderful thing about Beyoncé and Rihanna is that very few people have no feelings about them. People have strong feelings about them, some positive some negative. This is also a course that students are going to have strong opinions. To find a way for them in a large classroom to be able express those opinions, I think is going to involve some creativity. And perhaps things like doing some dance moves, right, to allow some room for expression of course.”

On how Beyoncé and Rihanna influence feminist issues

“It’s not about them certainly as individuals… It’s about the conversations that their music and their lyrics, and particularly the young women’s familiarity with their music, allow us to have around feminist issues.”

On her teaching tools at the University of Texas

“This is my third teaching here at UT. I am in the African diaspora studies department. So the courses that I teach have been about black woman’s creative and intellectual work. I found that in fact some of the most useful teaching tools to teach subjects that are difficult, have music videos by Beyoncé and Rihanna. And so starting to think about the discussions that these generated, I thought that perhaps this would be a useful tool to teach a whole course about different versions of black feminism.”

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